Hosts & Guests – Modern Essays Notes

Q. No. 01: – The history of hospitality is unreliable, Discuss it?


The man learnt to be hospitable with the passage of time. It we study the history of hospitability; we find many events which are painful to study. There are many examples of crimes committed by hosts. The writer has given four examples of hosts who killed their guests. First he gives the example of Jael. She was Israelite. She killed her guest cold bloodedly. People of Israel appreciated her for that.

The second example is about of Odysseus. He was Greek hero. He killed the people who gave application of marriage with queen of Sparta. The third example is that of Borgias. Roman civilization was at its best in the 15th century. The Borgias family was the best family of Romans. They selected and laid down rare poisons in the cellars. They took great care of these poisons. They too killed their guest. It was a matter of routine for them. They killed their guests with rare poisons. They had done it just for the sake of pleasure.

Fourthly, he gives the example of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare has made them great examples to all mankind. That is why Scotsmen do not like Shakespeare much. Both the characters killed the Scottish king Duncan. They killed him mercilessly in their palace.

Q. No. 02: –“Our deepest instincts bad or good are those which we share with the rest of the animal creation”. Discuss with reference to Max Beerbohn’s essay “Hosts and Guests”? OR

Trace the development of the instincts of host and guest as you find in the essay “Host & guest”?


The writer says that both man and animals have the same qualities. Human nature is quite similar to animal’s nature.

The writer says man was neither guest nor a host by birth. He has acquired these with the long passage of time. We observe that the lion don’t share their dens. The birds don’t keep open their nests to others. It a dog has bone, he does not invite other dogs. Similarly a cat does not invite other cat to its saucer of milk.

In olden times, man lived in caves alone. The writer imagines that a good natured caveman might have invited some other caveman to dinner. And he might have declined the offer for the fear of life.

   The writer concludes that will to offer hospitality an earlier growth than the  to accept it. The redman gave the excuse becausescented danger. He thought that the other man had invited him only to kill him. The writer has some other examples from history to prove that some guests were really killed by hosts.

Q. No. 03: – How does the writer differentiate between hosts and guests?


The writer says that host and guest must be the same but they are different. According to the writer whole mankind may be divided into two classes. Some people are born hosts and others are born guests. But this division is only theoretical level. Practically we can’t divide mankind between host and guest.

A person who invites another man to dinner at restaurant and pays the bill may be called a host. The other man who accepts the offer of hospitality is called guest. They are hosts and guests according to circumstances. This is a circumstantial difference.

 There is also a temperamental difference. The writer himself claims to be born guest. Every human being has one or more instincts (human qualities). To offer hospitality is a positive instinct and to accept hospitality is a negative instinct.

It is also conventional that the rich often gives and the poor often receives. Rich is often creates the instinct of a host and poverty often creates the instinct of a guest. But this is not always true. We see that not all guests among the poor and all the hosts among the riches.